One of Canada’s largest home services companies, best known for its water and heating equipment sales and rentals, is now offering Level 2 EV chargers in select B.C. and Ontario urban markets
Air conditioners, water heaters … and now, Level 2 EV chargers.
Reliance Home Comfort, a water and heating and ventilation equipment services company with almost two million household customers across Canada, has started offering electric vehicle chargers alongside other everyday home appliances.
The Reliance program, launched in May, provides two charging stations — the FLO Home G5 and FLO Home X5 — to select markets in Ontario and B.C.
The chargers are offered on a rental basis, a first-of-its-kind program in Canada, says Reliance. Rather than buying a charger upfront and spending extra cash to do a home assessment and installation, customers sign a seven-year rental contract with monthly payments and Reliance does the installation.
Yuriy Bilynets, Reliance’s general manager of product, says in an interview with Electric Autonomy Canada that the company had been studying EV chargers for a while and made the move last month to capitalize on the growing market.
“We’ve been keeping an eye on emerging trends, and one of them is obviously the EV cars,” Bilynets says. “This is a high-value asset that requires professional installation, and rental is a proposition that allows the customer to pay for that in an affordable way.”
The chargers are currently offered in the Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa, Kingston, and Vancouver. Bilynets says Reliance chose these four markets to start because of population density and potential they saw in those cities to be familiar with EVs and charging infrastructure.
“We have a presence of electricians everywhere, but we wanted to launch with people most familiar with a product that have experience installing EV chargers in the past,” Bilynets says.
Roughly one month into the pilot program, with only a minimal amount of promotion and communication, Bilynets says they have noticed interest from customers.
“We have upwards of probably 2,000 to 2,500 customers that say we are interested in the product,” he says. “There is enough interest for us to say there is a demand.”
Bilynets says that Reliance, a company that offers electrical services such as electrical protection plans and home standby generators installed by master electricians, sees EV chargers as a natural extension of its electrical business portfolio.
He credits the company’s reputation and the monthly payment option as keys to the initial customer demand.
“We wanted to be ready to help our customers with a solution that is very popular and affordable to our customers.”
Chargers as an appliance
Given that the federal government is committed to reaching 100 per cent zero-emission new vehicle sales in Canada by 2035, Bilynets says that chargers are soon going to be a requirement for people to consider when buying a car.
Consumers will want to charge their cars at home, he adds, meaning that the demand for Level 2 chargers (as opposed to using a Level 1 wall outlet) will only increase.
At this early stage in its program, Reliance isn’t marketing the EV chargers differently than any other home appliance.
Right now, it wants to provide as much education as possible to customers on the benefits of Level 2 chargers.
“You don’t have to do Google research, you don’t have to find electricians, you don’t have to read their reviews,” Bilynets says. “We’re in the business of providing peace of mind to customers.”
Moving forward, he says Reliance hopes to continue evolving with the EV industry and be at the forefront of any new technology in the sector.
“We want to be at the same pace as our customers when they’re thinking about EVs and be a solution for them,” Bilynets says. “That’s what we’re trying to do.”